Customary Independence

Charles Gardner Geyh, JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE AT THE CROSS-ROADS, Sage Press, 2002

38 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2006

See all articles by Charles G. Geyh

Charles G. Geyh

Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington


This piece argues that a significant gap in our understanding of judicial independence is attributable to a failure to analyze judicial independence with reference to the sources of that independence. The prevailing, though often unstated assumption is that the judiciary's independence derives largely from the text of the Constitution and court-generated doctrine, which in reality have little to say about the contours of the judiciary's autonomy. In contrast, Constitutional customs or norms that Congress employs in deciding whether and how to regulate the third branch exert far more influence over the judiciary's actual autonomy, but have been largely unstudied. The author proposes a research agenda to explore customary independence more fully, and illustrates the utility of exploring customary independence through the example of court-packing, which court doctrine has left largely untouched, but which Congress has rejected as a matter of norm or custom.

Keywords: Judges, Judicial independence, Judicial accountability, Judicial history, Court-packing, Judicial criticism

Suggested Citation

Geyh, Charles G., Customary Independence. Charles Gardner Geyh, JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE AT THE CROSS-ROADS, Sage Press, 2002, Available at SSRN:

Charles G. Geyh (Contact Author)

Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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